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  • Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version)Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version)

    Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version) DVD Region 1, 3, 4, 5

    Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (3)
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    January 19, 2015 At long last...I watch Winter Sonata (in Winter) Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
    Winter Sonata (I knew one preferable time of winter I’d finally watch this), is certainly a very sad heavyweight of S Korean melodramas. It’s a beautifully crafted drama without any shadow of doubt with ethereally haunting scenery and music and wonderfully acted. The OST music is also pretty well perfect. It can be though a long drift through the 20 episodes of heavy sad melancholic repetition as Joon Sang (YongJoon Bae) and Yujin(JiWoo Choi) cry together (a lot) with togetherness restarts that are so on and off that skits of brief joy in the snow are soon melted into streaming tears of heart ache and anguish. The same heartaches shared by Sang Hyuk (YongHa Park) and his childhood love for Yujin and Chaerin (SolMi Park) her mutual love for Joon Sang, these latter two becoming heart wrecks themselves. But JoonSang and Yujin’s happy, sad, languid, heavy hearted and self annihilating repetitious longings for each other are stretched out to the exaggerated limit by severity of happenings. There are momentary scenes of happiness - the snowman/snowgirl kiss scene, JoonSang throwing snow over YuJin, having a smile at YuJin’s cuddly yellow eye popping plush toy on her dresser (probably saying with a thought bubble ‘That’s not all there is to it yet, folks!’) but such joy is predominantly blanketed out by plot revelations of road ‘death’, jealousy and past family trysts. THE S Korean melodrama!

    ‘Winter Sonata’ is beautifully bitter like a long shared dream sequence of reoccurring woes and broken hearted separations with the ever present ghoul of explosive conflicts of emotion - as the protagonists ‘true love’ blurs out the importance of the rest of the people around them and only them suffering anguish of broken romance as their lot. Characters suffering heavy at major pivotal junctures this very sad ballad anxiously wavers its weary characters from one sad piece of news to the next; always dire disclosures to keep the four deeply love smitten, apart and tragic. Four souls destined to find only a modicum of happiness interwoven into a sublime cruel snowy landscape for the broken-hearted. JoonSang and Yujin crying together yet again, looking sadly at one other as tears flow in anxious desperation. Love and pain certainly go hand in hand and the bouts of sadness rarely let up until the partly happy but tragic melancholic finish. Was this tale trudging through an emotional drift towards snow blind? Or always love blind?
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  • Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version)Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version)

    Winter Sonata (DVD) (End) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version) DVD Region 1, 3, 4, 5

    Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (3)
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    January 19, 2015 A sad dream romance journey in snow Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
    On SangHyuk’s bedroom dresser is a Martha Argerich record although himself and Joon Sang it could be more befitting if the record recital was of Franz Schubert’s song cycle ‘Winter Journey’, especially JS standing to cry near the snow spray machine. Of course the brilliant MA record reflects JoonSang’s pianist mother.

    The dialogue composed is to ladle on the despair and tragedy. Sometimes it can get silly by the obvious repetition of JoonSang and Yujin’s stalemate in love – shocked reactions to new but surely exceptive situations. Final twisters are also hinted blindingly obvious like the sunlight and headlight motifs. But WS does have ethereal reminiscent beauty (and fairy magic ambience). And there’s the snowy landscapes and laughter that backdrops the loveliness of their together time in joy, only to serve as reminders of their brief happy times together before the depressing aspects cling to the plot like mournful glue.

    The music is beautiful, sad and the lyrical songs almost perfect. Funnily enough after the final episode I listed to an early Deep Purple track called ‘Blind’ from their third album...the lyrics hauntingly befitting regarding the seasons, sorrow and snow. Peter Hammill’s ‘Time Heals’ also. But Winter Sonata isn’t just tearful sadness or a dark set of epistles. Its sadness in beauty and love; the human heart suffering love and not wishing to relinquish a truly found soul - desperately clinging on to hope.

    Due to main four character’s restricted to acts of despair, tears, selfish anger and sorrow the limited required range is superbly acted. YongJoon’s nature is very placid, but the sorrow his JoonSang suffers is proficiently done for painful expression. Ji-woo is smashing, too. I think I have only seen her so far in movie The Actresses (yet to see SWH which I have got) and such a mild mannered person, her Yujin leaves a beautiful memory. But Yujin is deeply self struck. Sol-mi Park is quite the spirited kid when you watch the NGs contrasting her selfish and love besotted misery of ChaeRin. It was sad to hear about YongHa’s death some time ago. He is one cool guy, too, and his part in this was good. A singer, too, which I’ll certainly now check out his albums. His death in 2010 was also the same year I lost my mother. I’m sorry to hear of his death, peace to YongHa Park – but I’m almost certain there’s more to love and life than just this one beautiful but at times hard life on earth. This DVD set is the one I have.
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  • 15th  Anniversary 2011 YG Family Concert Live (3DVD + Photobook) (Reissued) (Korea Version)15th Anniversary 2011 YG Family Concert Live (3DVD + Photobook) (Reissued) (Korea Version)

    15th Anniversary 2011 YG Family Concert Live (3DVD + Photobook) (Reissued) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)
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    January 9, 2015 A Big YG Family Night to Remember Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
    A DVD set I watched of the holidays was YG’s 2011 Family Concert Live for their 15th Anniversary and a concert set that contains a really excellent show from their artists . Not just for the big guns like 2NE1, T.O.P. G-Dragon and Big Bang which were great but also for the talents of Gummy and the rap-turously entertaining original YG artists Jinusean (especially Phone Number) and the very entertaining crowd pleaser Psy (being a bit coy about fitting in with the modern YG set here...haha..well sort of). Of course there’s more to the big fella than Gangnam Style, which this live celebration was one year before the craze. Tablo is also good to see here amidst song collaborations with Bom, Gummy and Taeyang. I need to listen to a bit more Tablo I think.

    All artist collaborations and alternate takes are nice including Dae Sung’s ‘Lonely’ and Jinsusean with Se7en and GD (Hip Hop Gentlemen) - the whole show is exceptionally and meticulously produced with set design, lights and overall entertainment value. YG wanted their Seoul audience to enjoy every second – and they do! Gummy is no doubt a wonderful singer and person by her to audience talk, and by her husky rnb vocals she could slot in easy on Jools Holland’s music show. The fireworks of course are gonna be 2NE1 and BB and they are here as you’d expect – full of explosive verve and charismatic energy. As are everyone. The ending is nice to with Psy thanking and civil not only to the artists but nearly everyone involved with the concert (production and even the modest backing staff).

    The packaging is a nice big black plastic tome, with classy photo concert booklet including lots of live concert photos and English text. The DVDs are nice and one of things that I instantly liked was the stylish DVD menus with nice subtle menu option sounds (similar to a video game menu sound), music choice and the long line of YG artist group design. Cool! English subtitles throughout, too (apart from the songs of course). The DVD’s are region 3. A pity really as region code lock was supposedly only for the movie industry. But these three ‘bad’ boy DVDs can easily be viewed on a computer with all region code software or simply changing your drive code. With a nifty PC wide screen monitor and good headphones to get that immersive feel, you’ll think you are actually there at this concert. :D

    Next year 2016 will be the 20th YG family concert which I’m sure will be even better than this.
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    January 8, 2015 Aoi Miyazaki - seems quite heaven sent in this! Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Makoto (Tamaki Hiroshi) a shy photography begins university life in New York and meets up and falls in love with Shizumu (Miyazaki Aoi) a funster kidult also a student starting the American university. Shizumu takes an instant interest in Makoto’s shy modest ways as he advisers her how to cross roads correctly. Makoto though is awkward in crowds due to a torso skin irritation which bothers him mainly due to the odour of his skin medication. This smell phobia keeps Makoto shy but he eventuality joins up with a small group of university friends, including Miyuki (Meisa Kuroki), a beautiful and wisely conscientious student Makoto takes an interest in.

    Shizumu, realising his interest in Miyuki, is determined to keep friends with Makoto sharing her favourite hole biscuits with him and using her sense of fun by telling Makoto a certain percentage of students have ESP. To prove such why doesn't Makoto silently project his thoughts of a spider on a student’s shoulders - and watch them wipe the mind figment off? A clear indication of student ESP! Such is Shizumu’s kooky sense of tomfoolery as Makoto tries to test this ESP theory on Miyuki. Much to Shizumu’s humour. But Shizumu by her kiddish looks, wiry hair, playful tricks and thick framed spectacles is deemed a ‘freak’ by one of Makoto’s group of student friends. This understandingly upsets Shizumu, accusing Makoto of not sticking up for her feelings. But Makoto and Shizumu frequently visit a forest he finds nearby the university - where Makoto takes photographs of an unusual bird they both find there (Shizumu placing her favourite biscuits on tree branches to feed the bird). For Shizumu the forest becomes a place of heaven being alone with Makoto, sharing his camera skills and secretly loving him. Her only gripe is Makoto being so besotted with pretty Miyuki (who Shizumu also befriends).

    Eventually Makoto tells Shizumu she can shack up at his apartment digs after she’s forced to move accommodation. At his digs Makoto learns from Shizumu that her father and brother had died of a genetic blood disease. Shizumu tells Makoto that she’s safe from the disease and determined to become a mature curvy woman and not remain the wiry haired kid with her first teeth. Shizumu even tempts Makoto to bed her at his flat, Makoto shocked and declines as he only wished to help Shizumu have a place to stay. But Shizumu warns Makoto he will regret refusing Shizumu now when she becomes a beautiful mature woman.
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    January 8, 2015 Simply put - a deeply rewarding movie! Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Due to Makoto showing Shizumu his apartment dark room and photography developing skills Shizumu takes an increased interest in people photography and when a photographic competition is held, Shizumu wants to take a photo of Makoto and herself kissing together beside at the forest lake. A heavenly passion portrait! At first Makoto is reluctant but understanding the photo is only for the competition, he agrees to do the kiss picture at the forest. After the kiss, Makoto is spellbound by Shizumu’s innocence and beauty. Shizumu asks Makoto if there was any feeling to their kiss? Makoto replies that there was. After this happy revelation Shizumu disappears from the university leaving a sad Makoto who doesn't see Shizumu again for a long time. Makoto finally realizing he’d fallen truly in love with Shizumu the moment she’d kissed him.

    *********

    ‘Heavenly Forest’ is more sweet and frivolous than a sad movie, but like all positive attempts to uplift an audience with harsh life ordeals this story doesn’t merely pitch a safe saccharine balance amidst dark pathos, but tells its story of a light innocent and intelligent girl pushing all the right buttons in the face of her own perilously adversity. Shizumu was given a kiss of surety that all was well and that her temporal life was just a shadow version of ‘another perfect soul place’ – the latter that something everyone can appreciate anywhere if willing – Shizumu’s ‘snapshot’ of such a Light life the way she loved Makoto in the forest and the kiss he transformed her with. A young girl with highly charismatic and natural honesty harbouring a futile blood disease refuses to grow into womanhood, as her youth delays the disease. But Makoto, a young bashful man with a coincidental health issue, triggers her ‘perfect’ union. Shizumu soulfully adopts Makoto’s photographic skills and his kiss for her womanhood creates a type of surety elevation of mutual compatibility for her soul - understanding she was always truly loved. A love Makato begins to understand having met Shizumu.

    Aoi Miyazaki (‘Nana’ actress) is known as a versatile and charmful character actor that grabs your attention on the onset and leaves you thinking about her well after the movie. ‘Heavenly Forest’ is a movie with Aoi you won’t forget easily and a believable love fantasy. For me I watched this just after Japanese movie ‘Rainbow Song’ and both complement each other in some ways. Sad but uplifting in one breath. This DVD is region free.
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  • Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version)Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version)

    Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)
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    January 7, 2015 Brilliant anarchic dark humoured movie Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
    The plot surrounds two young anti establishment rebels Shingo Kasuya (Ryo Kase) and Tetsu (Jo Odagiri) who after getting hijacked by a desperate gun welding lunatic politician (Tetsushi Tanaka), later and regularly meet up in a graffiti sprawled public toilet cubical where everyday people answer to the duo’s ‘revenge’ advert phone numbers scrawled on the public toilet walls, and pass their identity cards under Shingo and Tetsu’s toilet cubical wishing for personal retribution.

    Shingo works as a pen pushing police officer, suffers a nervous disposition and despondent with his boring job, but still wants his superior to post him to a homicide unit. Shingo’s boss detective Yabuta (Akira Emoto) knows this is one bad idea as Shingo is too anxious for such hard elevated duties. But Shingo desperate to overcome his fears imagines himself fighting at a shopping mall with a rough street kid – a mind manic courage to prove himself worthy for the homicide division. Tetsu works as a restroom cleaner whose father is incarcerated in a mental hospital and angry and dissatisfied with his life. So much he becomes a rebel with a cause, instigating a revenge game with Shingo after they meet. And meet they did after Shingo and Tetsu boarded a bus and were hijacked by the mad politician after the bus enters a large tunnel. Along with them was Saki (Chiaki Kuriyama) a pharmacist with a chemical ‘explosive’ disposition on her mind and likewise embittered with modern society. Born with one eye missing she wears a glass eye, that at one point falls out when confronted with the suicidal politician hijacker. The hijacker having played his game of Russian roulette with his revolver and one bullet, Saki lying on the bus floor, wonders darkly about the crazy man’s anger at his public school life education and treacherous political boss.
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  • Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version)Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version)

    Scrap Heaven Limited Edition (Korean Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)
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    January 7, 2015 A black humored scrap from heaven? Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
    The moody three survive their hostage ordeal with Tetsu then determined to play his ‘against society’ revenge game – helping a hospital worker get reprisal after a negligent anaesthetist had killed his sick mother and even a little boy asking for help after being physically abused by his mother. The anarchic revenge game is mad, bad and black humoured punishment. The boy’s mother for instance is sent photos in the postal mail by Shingo and Tetsu of her ‘abducted’ son with image doctored missing limbs and the mother ordered to fetch money, vegetables and the like on a time limit – or failing to do so more of her son’s limbs will be cut off. Her son is not injured of course and the mother is finally directed (via mobile phone) to a cemetery where her son is sitting alive and well inside a polyether body bag. The mother realises all was a ‘joke’ and hugs her wide eyed son.....job done. A mother won’t hurt her son anymore. Laughing like demented school boys Shingo and Tetsu are hysterical at their crazy antic game but believe good as come from it. But the real fireworks arise when Tetsu’s revenge game gets out of hand, when Tetsu and Shingo like stealthy ninjas steal a gun from Shingo’s police station armoury for kicks, triggering a volatile reaction from angered detective Yabuta. Meanwhile Saki begins to test her explosive chemical drops from a high rise balcony, scaring the bejesus out of the pigeons.

    Having a retro movie holiday break and more spare time I watched certain movies from past years I hadn’t yet watched on DVDs I have. One of these was this Japanese movie ‘Scrap Heaven’ from 2005 and certainly one to recommend (hard to believe this movie has still not been released on disk in the UK), not only for Chiaki Kuriyama (although she doesn’t have full screen time here alas) but for its manic caricature rebel rousing and anime styled ballsiness, its black comedy elements and very watchable ambiance. Its dark and it certainly relates to life’s difficulties in the ‘real’ world (illness, social and emotional indifferences, displacements and despondency), but it all plays it out in a madcap humorous but very watchable way. It doesn’t reveal all plot aspects as for one you don’t learn much about Saki...but this dark satirical anarchic movie is certainly worth your viewing time.

    This DVD version I bought some time ago was part of the Korean indie series including nice printed material. The Japanese version though does include English subtitles.
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  • Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)

    Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (3)
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    January 7, 2015 An unspoken sign of love in parallel stories Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Tomoya (Hayato Ichihara) takes a cell phone photo of a circum horizontal curve rainbow and sends the flat sky rainbow picture to Aoi (Juri Ueno) a nebulous sign they’d seen together before. Having difficulty in sharing his feelings Tomoya had never been able to openly reveal his true heart to Aoi. Aoi now on flight to LA, America to fulfil her dream as a film director, Tomoya hopes Aoi will receive his strange rainbow pic. But Tomaya would never see Aoi alive again. Working for a Japanese TV company, a job position Aoi helped Tomaya obtain, one day a news bulletin reports the passenger aircraft carrying Aoi to America had crashed. Tomoya and a TV studio work colleague visit Aio’s family in grievance, as the family prepare to return Aoi’s body for the funeral.

    Then on begin chapter flashbacks as grief stricken Tomoya reflects how he’d first met Aoi at a music shop. Aoi thought Tomoya a ‘stalker’ as he’d desperately harassed Aoi to act as go between in rekindling a relationship with Aoi’s work shop friend. But after Tomoya’s sincerity in paying Aoi a money note ring for her intermediary help, Aoi begins to trust and befriend Tomoya. The date is a failure as the music shop girl had already rejected Tomoya and Aoi felt sorry she lied and let him down, returning the money note.

    One year later as college students, good friends Tomoya and Aoi talk of getting a job, their lives and future. Aoi, having aspirations of becoming a movie director, joins a TV company where she then directs her own short movie called ‘The End of the World’- of a girl and her love who are separated the time a comet is about to strike the earth. Tomoya acts as the male lead and eventually Aoi the girl. As Aoi understands Tomoya’s foibles she trusts him to meet her blind sister Kana (Aoi Yu) for a fun day out, but cusses Tomoya’s incompetence when Kana goes briefly missing. To help Tomoya achieve his dream girl Aoi also takes him to a speed dating service where Tomoya meets a woman older than himself. At the stage event Aoi is rejected by all her ‘dates’ prompting Tomoya to impulsively cheer Aoi up by joking of a marriage proposal. But Aoi is angered telling Tomoya that if no other male ever asked her to marry him, Aoi’s only memory would be of Tomoya’s joke marriage proposal. Eventually Aoi decides to leave her TV studio job and go to America - the only reason to change her mind would be the one she truly loved asking her to stay in Japan. That love who shared with her a rainbow song.
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  • Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)

    Rainbow Song (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (3)
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    January 6, 2015 A Rainbow of Feelings - Obscured by clouds Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    ‘Rainbow Song’ is a beautiful story and a tragedy reflecting the brief life of aspiring movie director Aoi (Juri Ueno) and of how her un-confessed love for bumbling and anxious Tomoya Kishida (Hayato Ichihara), Aoi’s own personal aspirations are need fully expressed in a short disaster film she writes and directs. The movie’s cinematography is sublime and dream like with the love tale reflecting youth’s main anxiety – finding a ‘perfect’ soul mate to share your Earth days with.

    The plot is played out in memory chapters that reflect Aio’s segments of her own short movie ‘The End of the World’. (One person’s ‘end’ of course). Subtle situations and ‘coincidences’ throughout of how Tomoya and Aoi are sign posted for each other but harbour against the grain awkwardness or pride that doesn’t allow their love to flourish - until it’s too late. Or is it two people ‘fated’ to be separated by a disaster that Aio subconsciously foresaw in her need make her project disaster movie? A disaster played out as a sort of portend of Aio’s fate in the plane crash. Interesting too of one scene where Tomoya wears a Pink Floyd DSOTM T-shirt considering the rainbow/clouds theme (prism light). Another befitting PF album could be ‘Obscured by Clouds’, too - where blind love (Kana also as symbolic) and blind aspirations kept a boy obscured to the knowledge that such a person truly loved him. The flat horizontal circum rainbow - a beautiful treasure obscured by human awkwardness, inadequacies, misperceptions and unspoken love.

    ‘Rainbow Song’ is sad with a touching ending – but GOOD!. Kumazawa Naoto has certainly made a movie that stays in your head after watching and Juri Ueno’s Aoi helps loads with that, too. You know the fatal finality at the onset; flashbacks a way to understand this young woman’s emotional frustration about a boy she loves and needing to share her hidden unspoken love played out in a short disaster movie. The young actors Hayato Ichihara and Juri Ueno at this time were excellent for their roles as, too, Aoi Yu as blind girl Kana who plays a very good main third. A blind girl that saw the bigger picture.

    A movie DVD that you’d keep in your collection forever (well nearly forever anyway).
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  • Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version)Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version)

    Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)
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    January 5, 2015 Getting Dong Joo back in love tune (A) Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Dong Joo (Ha Seon Park) can’t sing for toffee due to being tone-deaf and resigns from her voice over animation job after arguing with her animation director (Byeong-ok Kim) who isn't too happy with Dong Joo’s tuneless din. Without a job Dong Joo assists her mother at her pancake restaurant business, Dong Joo pasting her mother’s (Hae-sook Kim) eatery shop posters all over song tutor Shin Hong’s advertising posters who just happens to be in the same place at the same time. Shin Hong offended at Dong Joo’s poster audacity (and for calling him a bad name) chases Dong Joo down a street and even throws his one loose sandal at her head (must have just watched ‘Windstruck’ on DVD). Dong Joo wearing a motorcycle helmet for disguise Hong Shin doesn’t know who the heck she is, but chases Dong Joo towards her mother’s pancake shop.

    Dong Joo’s close friend Bo-ra (Jeong-eun Lim) works at a bar restaurant where their school reunion is held. At the reunion Dong Joo meets again her school crush Min-soo (Jin-hyeok Choi). But Bo-ra requested to sing, so impresses Min-soo with her sweet singing voice he decides to date her. Heartbroken Dong Joo in hastiness tries to impress Min-soo by agreeing to sing a solo song at an up and coming wedding service Min-soo will attend. Although Dong Joo is a good piano player (with musical ear?) her big snag of course is Dong Joo cannot sing in tune (where even voice tutor Gareth Malone would be hard pressed) and would be super embarrassing at the wedding. But to get around her problem Dong Joo spots an ad in an elevator for Dr Mok’s Voice Training Clinic (Cheol-min Park as Dr Mok) with a 50% discount on voice singer training for students. So Dong Joo dresses in school girl attire to get the voice lessons at a bargain price, but finds herself being taught by Dr Mok’s singer voice training colleague Hong Shin - the guy Dong Joo pasted her mum’s food shop posters over and got hit on the helmet by his furious sandal.

    Hong Shin is an excellent singer and tutor but one of his problems for Dong Joo is his bad smelling body odour. Nevertheless Hong Shin helps Dong Joo get a decent voice for her solo song at the wedding event helping her with breathing techniques and rhythm timing. But due to Dong Joo being late for the solo song and running like fury, she arrives at the wedding event out of breath - and sings her solo badly out of tune embarrassing herself in front of Min-soo (and making a number of babies cry in the process).
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  • Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version)Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version)

    Love Clinique (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)
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    January 5, 2015 Getting Dong Joo back in love tune (B) Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    But when Shin Hong hears Dong Joo yell her heart out of how much she wishes she could sing her song perfectly to Min-soo, Hong Shin is then determined to make Dong Joo’s dream come true. Only problems is Shin Hong begins to fall in love with Dong Joo.

    ********

    As I began watching ‘Love Clinique’ I almost thought it was SNSD’s Yu-ri as Dong Joo. Of course Yu-ri isn’t in this movie and I may now need some specs, but Ha-seon Park is quite similar looking to Yu-ri (like two peas from the same pod). But aside to similar looking singers and actresses if you want to watch an uplifting experience with a modest love tale then this movie is certainly worth investigating. Its light slapstick and drool humour (I spelt drool like that on purpose as there really is some drool humour here) with positive hearted expression of when ya feel somewhat undervalued or unskilled at something. Dong Joo struggles to keep her vocal notes together, but hell she’s determined to improve her terrible singing voice and sing to the love crush she always admired. In the end Dong Joo realizes the absurdity of it all and that’s the rub! (That joke out of tune recording Hong Shin gives her...oh he knows the Way)

    You may laugh for some of the wrong reasons here, but what the heck this works as decent entertainment with good funny moments and desperate melodrama (such as when Dong Joo yells her emotional heart out to the sea for divine assistance so to tweak her blocked hidden talent and win the heart of Min-soo). Sang Heyeon is also good here as the good natured and persistent voice tutor and giving a bit of a ‘drawn out’ rock singer bit near the end. It’s all good!

    Director Jin-yeong Kim as also made other good movies of past such as ‘The Recipe’ and ‘Meet the In Laws’, also worth seeing.
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  • Telephone 601 (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)Telephone 601 (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)

    Telephone 601 (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All

    Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)
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    December 19, 2014 A sad satire and one ‘torturous’ ring tone Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
    Yhishu (‘Super Girl’ Bichang Zhou) is a melancholic office worker who believes her constant bad luck of falling down a man hole, losing her boyfriends to her female work colleagues are all down to the unfortunate meaning of her name. And ‘bad luck’ Yhishu really believes her superstitious mindset by moving constantly the position of her bed and even reporting her misfortunes to the police. But Yhishu gets some added grief when her cell phone is constantly called by besotted fans of pop musical idol Tianyou (Cecilia Cheung) - the reason being that 600 celebrity phone numbers have been leaked and due to Yhishu’s ‘bad luck’ name – having one digit difference to Tainyou’s cell number gets mixed up with the leak scandal – Yhishu joining the celebs as the 601st. Troubled and depressed Yhishu at first wants to change her cell phone number but decides to keep it after she receives a call not by a crazy Tianyou fan, but a gentle singer songwriter named Xiaowen (Hu Ge), who believing Yhishu has connections with his idol Tianyou, asks Yhishu to tell the popular singer he as a song for her to sing. Xiaown, unbeknown to Yhishu, as terminal cancer and his last wish in life is for his sad positive song about loneliness and despair to be performed by Tianyou.

    Tianyou is a pop idol singer/song writer with legions of fans. But Tianyou is pressured to release a new song album by her management, but refuses to release any old generic output. Tainyou wants her songs to be personal and meaningful - the ‘life blood of a song writer’. But her manager pressures Tianyou to record her new album pronto, insisting she deliver the goods due to Tainyou’s contract of one album per year. But Tianyou will release her work when ready - although due to the stress of managerial demands Tianyou becomes dejected and lonely. Little wonder when Tianyou’s manager even sends gangster heavies to intimidate her into pushing the album out.

    ‘Telephone 601’ is set within a maudlin reality but is more parody and satire, albeit situations grave and sad. The ambiance ladles on the lachrymose similar to S Korean movie ‘Last Present’ but with far more dark satirical wit. But through its dreamy sadness it’s reflective of widespread pressures of celebrity. Make it Big – the Demands increase! I enjoyed this movie though (music’s alright, too) and it’s one of a number of older ‘retro’ DVDs I’ve just got around to watching - some others being ‘My Boyfriend is Blood Type B’ and ‘White Valentine’.
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  • For the Emperor (2014) (DVD) (Korea Version)For the Emperor (2014) (DVD) (Korea Version)

    For the Emperor (2014) (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)
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    December 17, 2014 The Emperors clothes are severely blemished Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    The plot centres on Hwan (Min-ki Lee), a failed baseball player left high and dry after a match fix and becomes an alcoholic down and out angry young man using knife violence as his main survival means. But when Hwan meets up with money lender Sang-ha (Seong-woong Park) and by his admired guts, determination and rage is adopted into a crime family called Emperor Capital as Sang-ha’s right hand fist (or should I say blade) collecting illegal loan repayments and slowly climbing the firm’s status ladder. So hardened and ever angered Hwan shifts from blooded street clothes to dark suits. He’s also introduced to Sang-ha’s sultry bar hostess Yeon-soo (Tae-in Lee) who Hwan takes an immediate lust liking, too. But when betrayed rival gang leader Straw Cutter (Heung-chae Jeong) is released from prison Sang-ha and Hwan find themselves in one of the bloodiest carnages of their career.

    Before watching I wasn’t sure what to expect with ‘For the Emperor’, maybe a more sensually orientated movie by the DVD cover (although some explicit sex scenes feature), this turns out to be one of the most violent and brutal S Korean movies to date. Never have knives thrusted so much since Julius Caesar got stabbed by his not so friendly senators. No doubt for some ‘For the Emperor’ will be deemed too much towards gratuitous violence, because it’s hard and nasty and there is so much of it.

    Certainly acting is strong though and I think Min-ki Lee as now shown himself that he can certainly portray some serious hard boiled characters. Maybe now some more lighter roles again. Seong-woong also compliments professionally Hwan’s hard boy, by his cool headed demeanour but savage instigator Sang-ha. (At the violent end these two are almost visually parallel to ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’). Tae-in Lee puts in some bold skin ship alongside Min-ki that would have been highly demanding.

    This DVD version features nice slim packaging with a stylish strong outer case and inclusive postcards with a DVD that is also region ALL. But be warned if hard violence isn’t your thing (it’s not exactly mine out of the genres) this packs a brutal punch via the blooded knife and mostly unrelenting.
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  • Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)

    Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)
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    December 15, 2014 Crazy little thing called marriage Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    The D-day countdown commences by introduction as four happy couples decide to tie the knot, but joy and celebration soon turn to ‘marriage blues’ and lots of verbal fracas (and even a male crotch’s near miss with a pair of manic scissors) as all four couples hit problem after problem about....getting married.

    Tae Kyu (Kang woo) is a baseball player and about to get hitched to medial practitioner Joo Young (Hyo Jin) when to his horror learns that his beloved has been married before – to another doctor in her profession. What doesn’t help Tae Kyu’s side of the argument though is that Tae Kyu has also been playing the field (other than with his baseballs) for three years with another woman, to one year ignorant about Joo Young’s previous marriage. Nail artist So Mi (Yeon Hee) is about to wed chef Won Chul (2PM’s Taec Yeon) but with limited joy So Mi is unsure about her betrothal to the chef. But when travelling to Jeju island So Mi meets an online romance writer Kyung Soo (Ji Hoon) as her guide and although getting annoyed with Kyung Soo on the road, gently begins to fall in love with him. Gun Ho (Dong Seok) works in a florist and adores his leggy Uzbekistan girlfriend Vika (Guzal Tursunova) - as do some removal men outside Gun Ho’s shop - and is ready to be married. Gun Ho’s marriage blue though is he can’t get his man servant to fly at full mast and gets very concerned about his honeymoon night. He even relates to a wilting tree in his shop that seems to reflect his problem. So Gun Ho seeks medical help from Joo Young (with some embarrassing results). But when Gun Ho is hit with some gossip about Vika wanting to marry him for Korean citizen ship, he becomes frantic, his man servant not even flying at half mast then.

    And Joo Young’s medical assistant Dae Bok (Hee Joon) is to marry wedding planner Yi Ra (Joon Hee). Their problem? Yi Ra tells Dae Bok she is pregnant and they must marry - all due to the ethics of her father being a Christian minister and Dae Bok must now wait until he is finally married to Yi Ra before getting down and dirty again at the nuptial bed. But Yi Ra is quite a rebel, going clubbing and drinking. But having differing values with Dae Boks own mother’s dogma ways (especially by the imposition of some antique furniture she hopes Yi Ra will adore), Yi Ra gets concerned about the different values both have – which upsets Dae Bok as he worships his girlfriend as much as Yi Ra seems to by her faith.
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  • Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)

    Marriage Blue (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)
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    December 15, 2014 Four couples and their marriage blues Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    ‘Marriage Blue’ is another well weaved together script like Naked Kitchen with a good sense of satire and irony going for it and its 117mins went very quickly as I watched this, which is always a good thing. The interchangeable fluidity of associated dialogues, characters, and scenes throughout are spot on – it works and it keeps you watching. Director Ji Young Hong I think as another hit here! All four sets of characters are intricately interconnected throughout (in a clever way) and as there are quite a number of characters here it could get a bit messy or imbalanced I suppose. But scene after scene works very well and nothing really ever goes out of kilter. It’s certainly funny with some slapstick mirth (especially when focusing on the male groin) but with a good eye on the ball about what the craziness of planning a wedding amidst the social trappings of strict and differing values, indecisions about sharing a future with someone, wrongful misperceptions about soul mates and their ‘dodgy’ pasts etc, can express. Its all of course amplified madness but very close to the mark.

    The cast are all very good and it’s interesting to see more serious drama actors doing light humour again (Kang Woo and Dong Seok). Also good to see Ji Hoon back in action again as he does have some valuable talent and good charisma. As do many!

    This version of the DVD also includes a thin booklet with some movie scene photos and the DVD extras, although not English subtitled, have easy to appreciates additions. One is the main song making off ‘Marriage Blue’ that is written by Taec Yeon and another the usual promotional photo shoot. Other stuff on set is also quite watchable without paining for translation (never know maybe one day there will be an audio plugin that can translate languages).

    Overall this is good movie to recommend and one you may watch again and again – especially if you ever get married. For this slip case and booklet edition the DVD is also Region ALL.
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  • About Love (Hong Kong Version)About Love (Hong Kong Version)

    About Love (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.3 out of 10 (9)
    Our Price: US$10.99
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    December 12, 2014 Variations on communication and breakup Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    ‘About Love’ paradoxes calming motion, difficult communication and disappointments regarding the movie’s easy going aesthetic tones, difficult study displacements and romantic themes but certainly provided me a simple special sentiment. Looking into the glass and receiving feelings of a sanguine composure, but funnily contrasted due to the six main character’s youthful mild frustrations of language barriers, emotional growing pains towards love, getting dumped by first loves and a sad but poignant goodbye for a girl in Shanghai. But whatever the love and study frustrations, the motion love sickness is lessened by the three good directors way of showing it all. They are three sweet and easy vignettes to watch for your soul. And after all, love hurt is a momentary lapse towards transitory happiness, another yin and yang duality. (The more you know the more you’re become free).

    Bolin Chen’s graphic comic artist student rides his bike passionately and daily to leave a Japanese female painter (Misaki Ito – ‘The Grudge’ fame) his comic visage depictions of her pain to joy emotions on the glass door of her study studio – a girl who suffered a love breakup, so paints a scene of a road leading to a new life dawn. In Taipei a broken hearted girl (Mavis Fan) builds a bookcase but cannot lift it, so asks the help of a Japanese visitor (Ryo Kase) to help raise it for her. She then asks the Japanese visitor to talk (well, try to communicate as best as possible) to her localised ex-boyfriend about what the ex bf’s present feelings are now for her. At a rent home in Shanghai a Japanese student (Takashi Tsukamoto) stays there and communicates in various languages with the landlady’s daughter (Li Xiaolu), who the latter becomes concerned about a postcard the Japanese student receives from his homeland and of his sadness after reading the postcard. The girl cannot understand the written Japanese language so slowly translates the writing from the ripped up card by asking the student key words into her Chinese language – learning new words in Japanese the girl begins to fall in love with the Japanese student and his momentary misery.
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  • About Love (Hong Kong Version)About Love (Hong Kong Version)

    About Love (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.3 out of 10 (9)
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    December 12, 2014 Love that is almost there, but not quite Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    An ‘old’ movie I admit from 2004 (sifting through unwatched DVDs in my ‘material world’ collection boxes) but this puppy sadness of a somewhat indie movie can charm in a cathartic way, is aesthetically pleasing by its lovely cast and occasional camera silence and ‘feel you are there’ points of view ...and quite funny. The casual plot concerning Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese youth in different Asian countries and of the people they meet there is universal to the subconscious seeker. People the ‘alien’ wish to love (ie everybody’s lonely secret heart I guess). The short films in Tokyo, Taipei and Shanghai are each centrally about love breakups but also misperceived actions and misunderstandings of what’s truly inside other people’s emotional hearts. Concerning language barriers it’s the difficulty of and in communication, humorously portrayed in the Taipei story the most with Mavis Fan and Ryo Kase about the latter’s ex-bf’s feelings and the Shanghai postcard (that Tower of Babel, eh?). I wasn’t sure myself what the heck the newcomer from Japan was saying and repeating. Thought something like ‘Peen not lighting up the way into my wife as usual? (a bit like a modern online translator software) ‘About Love’ though is very visually rewarding and although depicting characteristics of frustrating emotions, it’s a simple and good film to recommend.

    For the communication isolation thing apparently the English language syntax can be limited in truly expressing complex feelings and emotions – something I came across from a Peter Hammill album. Limited English to communicate fully? Certainly mine is anyway. Actually two interesting albums by UK poet/lyric artist Peter Hammill (known from Van Der Graaf Generator) are his ‘Incoherence’ and ‘Consequences’ albums and his 1976 marital breakup album called ‘Over’ – hard going stuff but brilliant!)

    Lastely although a modest DVD-5 the picture quality was very good with this version.
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  • No Tears For the Dead (DVD) (Korea Version)No Tears For the Dead (DVD) (Korea Version)

    No Tears For the Dead (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)
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    December 8, 2014 Ultra Violent Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    After accidently killing a child in a botched up assassination Gon (Dong-gun Jan) is then ordered by his gangster boss to obtain what he failed to get in the first place, a data flash drive relating to a money laundering conspiracy racket that could bring the Triads upon them if money and data is not obtained, such data that is now in the possession of the little girl’s mother Mo-kyeong (Min-hee Kim), whose estranged husband was involved in the racketeering. Gon wants this to be his last mission and so travels to S Korea in search of Mo-kyeong. But Gon suffering such mental anguish and pain at the death of the little girl such pain is intensified when Gon eavesdrops on the present circumstance of Mo-kyeong, who not only lost her daughter to a him as a killer but her mother also terminal with dementia. Grieving his resentful past of his own mother who rejected him, Gon decides to help the woman he is supposed to kill, but finds himself in the thicket of a bloody and mass crazed mini war of all those who will stop at nothing to get the important data from Mo-kyeong.

    To say this is a bit of a blast is an understatement as Jeong Beom Lee’s intense killer thriller ‘No Tears for the Dead’ is such a bloody and violent shooter movie (with added brutal blade slashing) that this wouldn’t go amiss on a shelf next to John Woo’s ‘The Killer’, the Bourne movies and Call of Duty video games. It’s a grisly, gory and nasty shooter this, but production and acting is very slick and well made and certainly an action movie that may please fans of the genre. Being multinational the movie is also partly in English with a Korean and Chinese American cast (Brian Tee for one) and features a collective of genre type motifs that reflect many other types of Asian and Western movies. The plot is simple to follow and the core empathy and pathos is decently balanced by Dong Gun and Min Hee’s respectively rejected in childhood assassin character and hard life mother. By flashbacks of Gon’s botched up childhood and Mo-kyeong’s mental pain of losing her daughter to Gon, there is dark pathos. But for Gon (especially) and Mo-kyeong’s sucked into it all plight, by the end this becomes overwhelmed by the intensity of the ultra vicious gun action that what emotion is left is diluted so much to passionless noise and battered disillusionment. The pre pathos and emotive emphasis at the beginning and middle left as shattered glass by the finish. It’s all nearly lost in the unfriendly fire.
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  • The Actress Is Too Much (DVD) (Korea Version)The Actress Is Too Much (DVD) (Korea Version)

    The Actress Is Too Much (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)
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    December 1, 2014 Na-bi’s big pole dancing scheme Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Certainly Jung Hwan Yoo’s ‘She Lacks 10%’ is a different styled Korean movie and not your normal quirky romantic comedy as you know em (if this a rom-com of course). Quirky is certainly an operative word! The madcap plot and interpolated cartoon animations aren’t far off ‘Sofie’s Revenge’ but with a different Korean indie vibe than Hollywood and with more of a sociopathic nail boot character in Na-bi (although Sofie could be a bit of a nutter in her imagination thinking about it). Here the plight of infamous upsetter actress Na-bi (Ye-ryeon Cha) getting into many an offensive, ignorant or boo boo mishap that leaves her (also via her agency manager’s choices) an outcast in the acting industry. But when Na-bi gets offered the role in an erotic drama theatre play directed by Jin-woo (Hyeon-jae Jo) Na-bi is stunned to find that the role consists of some...nude pole dancing. Well it is an erotic play. But angered at her agency manager and Jin-woo’s script revelation Na-bi tries many a cunning plan to manipulate director Jin-woo into NOT putting her nude in the act (it would upset her fans, see, and really pees off Na-bi). So by proxy Na-bi coaxes her friend sexy Sarah (El Lee) to perform a nude pole dancing bit (her eyes covered with a mask at least), allowing Sarah a route to the acting world and Na-bi free of exposing any of her personal bits. Na-bi also annoys worried man director Jin-woo a plenty, but the plot orients towards the two becoming more than working colleagues.

    ‘She Lacks 10%’ is a movie you either like or loath as Na-bi is one devious little madam (manipulative and that) and the black humour may seem too caustic and even cheaply crude for some (like when Na-bi sleeps her drooling is deemed sweet nectar by one of the other actors...phew!). The opening cartoon bit could even make some feel it’s quite insensitive. But I actually enjoyed it (film wasn’t bad either) but I was very so-so with it all to begin with. (I also got a bit of déjà ve by Na-bi and Jin-woo’s head hitting tag game considering I recently watched K-drama ‘My Fair Lady’) I really like Ye-ryeon (since ‘Voice Letter’) and she pulls of good interesting roles and this is certainly a different one for her (one loony vicious badass YR). Like Sofie was for Ziyi Zhang. It’s central theme is sex sells and I soon found out why this was a 19 mid way through. Surprise! Sex, it’s been around a long time now. Buy or see this if your dare! ^^ But if eating...beware of the drool.
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  • The Tunnel (DVD) (Korea Version)The Tunnel (DVD) (Korea Version)

    The Tunnel (DVD) (Korea Version) DVD Region 3

    Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)
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    November 25, 2014 Tunnel Visions Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
    Eun-joo (Yoo-mi Jeong) seated patently by the coal mines waited for the others to arrive as she sat looking at a photo on her lap. Soon the hatchback arrives and Eun-joo joins her party goer friends, especially close friend Yoo-kyeong (Si-won Lee), all who are about to let their hairs down at a cavern resort EDM disco and chill out party at a cavern and indoor pool villa near the disused coal mines. Yoo-kyeong’s boyfriend Ki-chul (Jae-rim Song) is also the son of the mining resort CEO. Riding in the hatchback the youths could only think of adolescent importance; free time, drinking sessions, dance partying and sex which Eun-joo was somewhat less enthused about the latter. But unexpectedly the hatchback screeches to a halt as a man with a scared face stands in the road staring menacingly into the car’s front screen. He warns the youths to not enter the mine resort or they’ll be cursed and die, but the youths ignore the man and carry on to the resort.

    The EDM party is situated within the caverns above the disused coal mine tunnels, part of the luxury resort. But the coal mine was closed and abandoned after miners had died in a tunnel cave in accident trapping and killing them. But as the EDM cavern party gets underway Eun-joo, her friends and many revellers are abruptly gate crashed by the ex-mine worker who again warns about a dire curse within the mine caverns. Even scaring the revellers by showing them his black blood that he’d got from being trapped once within the ‘cursed black hell’.

    At the after party of drinking and swimming at the indoor pool villa Ki-chul and Se-hee (Si-yeon Jeong) decide to have a secret fling that Yoo-kyeong becomes unhappy about, her later looking for Ki-chul outside the villa. As well, Eun-joo roams the resort’s surrounding forest wondering about the strange girl dressed in white she saw and of why she had suddenly disappeared. Who was she? But in the forest the scar faced ex-miner reappears again and drags an unexpecting Yoo-kyeong away. Hearing Yoo-kyeong’s screams the others soon come to her assistance and Ki-chul attacks the man and kills him. The youths then try to hide the dead man’s body and to Eun-joo’s suggestion, take the body inside the abandoned mining tunnels. But as they cross the line of no return the youths find themselves trapped within the tunnels and subject to a poisonous hallucinatory gas and fall foul to the ghost of a young girl and the ghost of an undead scar faced miner.
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